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Coronet Instructional FilmsRight or Wrong? (Making Moral Decisions) (1951)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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Assessing the behavior of a juvenile delinquent who refuses to rat on his companions.


This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor: N/A
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Juvenile delinquency

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Reviews
Average Rating: 4.14 out of 5 stars4.14 out of 5 stars4.14 out of 5 stars4.14 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: AceVII - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 9, 2011
Subject: Typical 50's social hygiene film
...the kid looks just like a young Lee Harvey Oswald!

Reviewer: fisherman777 - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - June 19, 2009
Subject: wwwww
Harry is with some other boys who throw rocks and break warehouse windows. Although he didn't throw any rocks, the night watchman recognizes him. A series of decisions by the watchman, the policeman, Harry's mother, the warehouse owner, and a family friend lead to Harry's apparent agonizing over whether to rat on his friends or not. From the start, the film says it will not judge what is right or wrong, but all we get is an adult viewpoint: we hear the inner dialog of the adults, but nothing of Harry's or his friends thoughts. We are only allowed to view and make assumptions from the acting of the boy playing Harry. Still, it is better acting and subject matter than most 1950's social guidance films.

Reviewer: ERD. - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - April 28, 2007
Subject: Effective
An effective film, especially considering it was made in 1951. A Good script, that is well acted and directed. After seeing this film, this could elad to a good discussion about moral values and decisions.

Reviewer: Bill T. - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 1, 2004
Subject: It's Marky Mark!
Instead of the usual "what would you do?" singular problem that is popular among these films, the filmmaker decides to go all out and lay out something like 5 problems for us to think about.
Harry (who looks screamingly like someone from the Wahlberg family) is with a pack of hoodlums when they break a couple of windows at a warehouse (Harry doesnt he chickens out). The nightwatchman thinks.. should I report him to the cops? (he does). The cops come to his front door. Should his Mom let them in? (She does) Harry is then taken to the police station, where the detective is having a conversation with the warehouse manager.. The warehouse manager wants the policeman to make an example of him. Should the policeman do that? (he doesn't). The film THEN takes a only-in-the-fifties turn when a priest shows up at the station and TAKES HIM HOME. No doubt, to talk some sense into the boy, but WHY this was done is I'm quite sure lost on the "Priests are big boy pervs" audience of today, who would think of ANOTHER moral decision the priest would make later on that night (aw nuts, the film ended!) Reccomended!

Reviewer: Steve Nordby - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - January 22, 2004
Subject: The boy wont talk... I'll force him to talk!
Harry is with some other boys who throw rocks and break warehouse windows. Although he didn't throw any rocks, the night watchman recognizes him. A series of decisions by the watchman, the policeman, Harry's mother, the warehouse owner, and a family friend lead to Harry's apparent agonizing over whether to rat on his friends or not. From the start, the film says it will not judge what is right or wrong, but all we get is an adult viewpoint: we hear the inner dialog of the adults, but nothing of Harry's or his friends thoughts. We are only allowed to view and make assumptions from the acting of the boy playing Harry. Still, it is better acting and subject matter than most 1950's social guidance films.

Reviewer: dynayellow - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - September 17, 2003
Subject: Like something out of Shakespeare...
Should the night watchman have reported the crime at the warehouse he was paid to protect?

Should Harry's mom have told the police that her son lived there, after they showed up at the house and asked for him?

Should the man who's windows were broken have pressed charges?

Should the police chief have questioned Harry after the charges were pressed?

These are just some of the hard-hitting questions asked of the viewer in this short on morality.

Bonus: Harry wrestles with his inner demons, using every muscle in his face.

Reviewer: Christine Hennig - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - December 9, 2002
Subject: Right or Wrong?
Teenaged Harry goes out on a window-breaking spree with a tough gang. Although he doesn't break any windows himself, he is seen by the night watchman and turned in to the police. The police investigator tries to get Harry to tell who else is in the gang, but Harry refuses to squeal on his friends. The investigator knows that Harry is a good-natured kid and so tries to convince the warehouse owner to simply accept payment for the windows without prosecuting Harry. But the warehouse owner is sick and tired of all this vandalismhe wants the investigator to "get tough" with Harry and "make him talk" so that his gang can be broken up. The investigator tries one more time to reason with Harry and when that doesn't work he decides not to get tough, fearing that this will just make Harry hate the police and drive him in to further delinquent activities. A man from Harry's church picks him up at the police station and takes him to his house to wait for Harry's father to get home from his graveyard-shift job. This guy also tries to get Harry to talk, but no dice. Everybody's thoughts are verbalized in the film, and it ends unresolved, instructing the viewers to make their own decisions for each of the film's characters. This is an unusual Coronet film. It's rare for Coronet to end a film unresolved and the ghetto setting of the film and its dark mood are also unusual. It reminds me of a slicker version of the Centron "discussion" films, such as Cheating or What About Juvenile Delinquency? It's not nearly as campy as those films, though it is about as depressing as Cheating. An oddity.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on The Educational Archives, Vol. 2: Social Engineering 101.

Shotlist

[Educational Screen, Oct 1951] The film presents a series of situations which involve moral decisions and raises the question of whether or not each of the individuals, in the opinion of the audience, acted according to the best moral principles and practices.
The narrative prologue -- "Most of us think we know what is right. Do we? Here are some situations which involve moral decisions. Test yourself. Decide what you think is right -- and why" -- introduces the audience to the film.
The main action in the film opens at a warehouse at night as a gang of teenage boys throw stones at a many-paned window. All but Harry throw their rocks. The watchman recognizes only Harry, the boy who did not throw his rocks. Since he knows Harry's father, he wonders if he should forget that he saw Harry. The voice of the narrator points out that the watchman has a decision to make which will influence the lives of several people and that he must make a decision as to which alternative is right and which is wrong. He also asks each person in the audience to determine what decision he would reach in this situation and explain its possible effects on the lives of those involved. The watchman decides to report Harry to the police.
When the police officer rings the bell at Harry's home, his mother answers. She is alarmed to see a policeman and when he asks for Harry, she pauses to decide whether she should hand him over to the police or whether she should cover up for him. The narrator again asks the audience to decide which is the better course of action and why. The mother decides to give Harry to the police.
Mr. Kastner, the owner of the warehouse, having been informed about the vandalism, immediately goes to the police station and demands that Harry be brought to trial if he doesn't divulge the names of his gang. He points out that he feels that this is right since it is necessary to stop vandalism, which has been too long uncurbed. Again the audience is asked to decide whether or not they would have decided as Mr. Kastner did.
When Kastner leaves, Sergeant Kelly tries to get Harry to talk. Harry stubbornly disclaims responsibility in breaking the warehouse windows and refuses to tell the names of the boys who did because he doesn't think it would be right to squeal on the others. Even when Barker, a man from Harry's church, takes Harry past the broken warehouse windows and then on to his house, Harry still refuses to talk. Barker asks Harry a last question before they turn out the lights, "Is it right to hide a lawbreaker from justice?"
The narrator points out that Harry's problem is far from solved and that it is not the purpose of the film to solve it. He says to the audience, "The question is up to you. Think back over the moral decisions. Did you agree with them? It's your story now. You decide what is right."
Ken Smith sez: A gang of "toughs" breaks some warehouse windows, and the night watchman recognizes one of the punks as youthful Harry Green. He's hauled into the police station and he has to decide which is worse -- "squealing" on his friends, or "hiding lawbreakers." This dark film takes place entirely in one night, and as we encounter each character we hear them agonizing to themselves in VOs as they make moral decisions. Sgt. Kelly ("It'll be much easier for you if you help us") played Dick York's weird dad in Shy Guy. An interesting film; winner of an unexciting Diploma of Participation at the 1952 International Film Festival For Children.

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY TEENAGERS MORALITY NIGHT WATCHMEN SECURITY GUARDS MOTHERS POLICEMEN SOCIAL WORKERS BURGLARY WAREHOUSES BREAKING & ENTERING THEFT CRIME & PUNISHMENT Gangs Juvenile delinquency Crime and criminals Children Teenagers Glass (breaking) Factories

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